Thirteen seconds away from capturing game 5 and putting the pucker factor in Chicago off the charts. 13 seconds and with the man advantage.
Yet at the 13 second mark, 20 Cent Kane scored the game tying goal to send the pivotal contest to overtime. The Predators would fall to the Blackhawks in overtime as Cup Whore Marian Hossa would tally the game winner for a 5-4 victory for the Blackhawks. A victory that frankly should have never happened.
This loss hurts for a lot of reasons. The Predators battled back from a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 lead. The aforementioned prostitute for the Cup- Marian Hossa- was off for a boarding major. The Preds just needed to control the puck and run out the clock.
This is the kind of loss that can rip the heart out of a team. A team that is of lesser character will lay down in game six and the series will be over. This team will not do that.
Kudos to Marty Erat for showing up offensively. His two goals were huge today.
Also, props go to David Legwand, Joel Ward, Denis Grebeshkov, and Ryan Suter, all who played strong games.
As to the Predators power play... well to say it was- and is- abysmal is a compliment. Now 0- for 22, the power play has been a joke, and the futility with the man advantage is costing the Predators.
So here we are. The Predators and their fans have had their heart ripped out and now face the prospect of having to win two games against the powerful Hawks. How do we- yes the fans AND the team- respond?
Right now, as I write this, it is so easy to hang one's head and say it is over.
NO, IT'S NOT!
Look at this realistically. Down 3-1, it would have been easy to say it was over. This team didn't quit and didn't stop battling. Joel Ward's shorty at the end of the second period breathed new life into the Preds. Erat's goal to tie it up showed the Preds they could still compete and comeback against the Hawks. His second goal should have won it.
There was no quit in the team. They showed heart and battled. Yes, they should have won this game, and the loss is heartbreaking, but this team has shown they have the ability to rebound.
It will take focus. It will take passion. It will take heart. These things didn't disappear at the end of this game.
And, Predator fans, it's going to take heart and passion from us as well. Hear this- if you don't have it, don't show up.
Now it becomes a matter of the Predators laying it all on the line. You know there is no tomorrow. You have to play like it.
Time to bounce back.